This family that plays together recommends its top active activities: hiking, tree-climbing, trampolining, roller skating and swimming.

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IF YOU HAVE kids, you might notice they love to move: running around in a park, swimming, playing and playing some more. My stepkids, ages 12, 10 and 8, inspire me with their constant interest in movement, like doing handstands to a wheel in the backyard on a whim, or their strength — put a kid on some monkey bars, and you’ll be amazed.

My husband and I also love to be active. As a family of movers, over time, we have discovered many ways to be active together that also satisfy kids from elementary school to preteen, and parents who would rather not watch from the sidelines. We took a family vote on our favorite ways to move. (Please note: This list is geared toward kids ages 6 and up, though also can be fun for preteens still interested in family outings. Take on any activity at your own risk.)


Cost: Depends on the price of the parking pass; you’ll likely need a Discover Pass or a Northwest Forest Pass.

Our family loves to hike. We look for enough elevation gain to satisfy the adults, and roughly 4 to 5 miles in distance. Our kids love Little Si for a 4.7-mile adventure with 1,300 feet in elevation gain. Another family favorite is Blue Lake in the North Cascades, a 4.4-mile stunner with a lovely lake up top and great rocks for stretching out for lunch. All outings with kids require preparation, and this one goes more smoothly with lots of layers, durable shoes, a first-aid kit, sandwiches and motivational snacks along the way (plus water for everyone).

Tree climbing

Cost: Free.

We love Seattle’s abundance of parks with play areas, and for variety, we sometimes climb trees. Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill has a host of beautiful, mature trees, with bark worn smooth from thousands of hands and feet. There is a grove of smaller trees great for younger and smaller hands. Other parks also have tree-climbing choices — look outside your normal play area for additional fun that gets kids (and parents!) challenging themselves in a natural way.

Trampoline parks

Cost: $10 to $17.50, depending on time spent. Flying Circus requires grippy socks.

If you have the funds, and a lot of energy, get ready to lose your kids to the delights of bouncing on trampolines. Flying Circus in Tukwila is our latest family favorite, packed with trampolines, Ninja obstacle courses, a rock-climbing wall, a parkour course, a flying trapeze and various foam pits, so kids of all ages can play. By the end of the hour, everyone is exhausted in the best way. Elevated Sportz in Bothell is another trampoline park with tons of options. Parents, don’t miss out on the fun. Bouncing is one of the best workouts I know.

Roller skating

Cost: $7 and up, depending on age and time.

I recommend lessons at the roller rink; otherwise, you might get dragged down with your child — even the older ones can get clingy facing slippery wood floors. Once everyone gets the hang of skating, it could be a family love affair. Most roller rinks have fun games during family skate, such as speed races.


Cost: $3.75 and up at City of Seattle pools.

City pools are scattered throughout neighborhoods and offer fun movement at low cost. In summer, the saltwater pool at Lincoln Park in West Seattle offers spectacular views, while Rainier Beach Community Center in South Seattle has a lazy river and a slide. Our family loves them all.